Taking the Lead is a collection of essays and personal portraits that highlight the struggle and achievements of a diverse array of individuals, groups, and organizations. The common thread among these movers and shakers is the urge to bring about positive change — to refuse to accept an untenable or ineffective status quo. These are stories of hard-working people, many from the margins of society who have defied the odds in an effort to improve their own lot, and the lives of others.
But there is also a strong personal component to these stories. Mixed in with the practical, concrete goals of improving how we are governed, how our laws are written, interpreted, and enforced, there is always personal growth. Many of those profiled here undergo a marked change in their spirituality and sense of self-worth. They are not quite the same at the end of their journey as they were at the beginning.
The people in these essays are of all age groups, many races, and both genders. There is also a wide variety of subject matter. Many of the stories deal with women, native people, and children. Readers will meet, among others, an anti-poverty crusader, a native Peacekeeper, a Chinese doctor, and a gay rights activist. There is a story of police insensitivity and brutality, a profile of a community-minded, unpretentious priest, and a look at the life work of someone who strives for the personal enrichment of the disabled.
Taking the Lead offers stories of people
who, either on their own or with others, have fought against what they
believe is fundamentally wrong. A catch phrase binding these essays
These stories, then, are life affirming in a broad way. They show
that positive change, both on a personal and social level, can be brought